Multiple Attacks

The purpose of the Multiple Attacks lesson is to learn how to break through your opponent’s defenses by attacking multiple times and different areas in succession.

For Teachers

Click the Button to jump to How to Teach Multiple Attacks.

Safety

When attacking multiple times it is important to avoid a technique we call the “Sewing Machine.”

The Sewing Machine is when a fighter is caught in a rhythm of throwing shots one after the other, but only in a straight line. Sort of like the needle of a sewing machine.

The Sewing Machine technique does increase the number of shots thrown, but it becomes incredibly predictable and easy to block again and again. It also leads to harder shots and you can end up hurting your opponent.

Multiple Attacks

When you are on the offensive the more attacks you can make, the more likely you will be able to break through your opponent’s defenses and land a shot. Most beginner fencers only attack one time before resetting and with this lesson, we hope you’ll begin to attack more often and maintain an offensive pressure on your opponent.

The first thing you have to do is to get out of the habit of only striking once on any given attempt. Meaning that every time you attack, we should be striking two, three, even four times before resetting in our ready position.

To do this, it helps to keep your point extended during the attacks and not pull it all the way back to ready position. So instead of one full strike, you’re doing many small extensions of your blade to try to get past their defenses.

Attack Different Areas

Almost everywhere on your opponent’s body is a potential target and may be open for an attack. Instead of always attacking the same area, learn to attack different areas sometimes one after the other.

Changing how you attack allows you to find new openings in your opponent’s defenses. There is always an open target somewhere. Always attacking the same area becomes predictable and dangerous.

The following areas are all possible targets with various levels of difficulty. Here are some suggestions to consider when picking a target:

  • Head: Typically open. Wait for you opponent to lean in before striking.
  • Neck: Very small target. It’s easier to go for the head or torso.
  • Torso: Largest and easiest target, but defended by swords.
  • Sword Arm: Narrow target defended by sword. Aim for the forearm.
  • Offhand: Small open target. Strike when it is extended and opponent is distracted.
  • Legs: Risky target, but advantageous if successful. Aim for opponent’s thigh.
  • Foot: Small target, but hard to defend. Strike when it is close or opponent is resetting.

Teacher Resources

Explain

Explain the following techniques and how they will apply to Multiple Attacks and increasing offensive ability. Emphasize that the more offensive we are, the more opportunities we have to break through our opponent’s defenses.

  • Avoid the Sewing Machine
  • How to attack multiple times
  • How to attack different areas
  • Risk/Benefits of attacking different targets

Demonstrate

Demonstrate each of the Principles of Gauging a Shot. Include examples and situations of how you gauge your shots in fight. Afterwards, demonstrate how to perform each of the different “breaks” on a wall or co-teaching Swordsman. Make sure that each student can see how each breaks work and explain as you go.

Guide

After demonstrating, walk the students through each principle and help them understand the process. Show them what to look for when gauging a shot and how to perform each “break” on a partner or a hard surface. 

Enable

At this stage, each Initiate should be able to gauge a shot and break a hard shot on their own. Run through the following drills or challenge before finishing:

Multiple Attacks

Multiple Strikes Drill

Have each student find a partner and take turns striking and blocking. The Attacker will strike at the their opponent, the Defender, with 3-5 consecutive attacks while the Defender only tries to block. Then switch roles.

Multiple Strikes Challenge (Break Through Their Defenses)

Find a partner, one student will be the Attacker and the other will be the Defender. The Attacker will strike at the Defender as many times as it takes to land a successful shot while the Defender will only block. After a shot is declared good, switch roles. Keep track of how many attacks it takes to break through the Defender’s defense and try to improve with each attempt.

Attack Different Areas

Attack Different Areas Drill

Have each student find a partner and take turns slowly attacking different areas of their opponent to become familiar with different targets and what it takes to land a successful attack.

Attack Different Areas Challenge (Secret Target)

Students should pair off in dueling partners. Secretly, each student will decide on a specific target that they are aiming for. Students will then duel each other until they are able to successfully land a shot on their predetermined target. After succeeding, they should choose a new target and continue dueling.

Ready to move on?

You’ve completed the Multiple Attacks lesson! Now that you're on the offensive, let's learn how to turn defense into offense with Block/Attack Combos.